A Closer Look at Our Core Values!

NESS provides STEM-based programs year-round, on and off the water, for students from all walks of life. Our goal is to build brighter futures. From the beginning, we have been guided by four main core values. These core values are inclusiveness, experiential learning, personal growth, and stewardship. So even when our students are out powerboating, sailing, or learning about the tidal pools in our area, these core values are at the base of everything we do. Let’s take a closer look at each!


NESS opens doors for learning for students regardless of ability or financial need. We do this in many ways! We are always so thankful to everyone who helps us reach our goals and support all our students!

  1. Scholarships: We actively fund a scholarship program so that all children can benefit from our award-winning programs and learn lifelong skills, such as confidence and leadership.
  2. Grants: Grants also support our programming and our ability to work with underserved communities.
  3. Sponsorships: Our classroom sponsorship program helps support our four classrooms in New London. The sponsors’ help provides a safe space for students, allow NESS programming in schools, and helps NESS purchase much needed classroom supplies.
  4. AmeriCorps: We are lucky to have our 15-person AmeriCorps team. Our team works within the New London school district to provide students with in-class support during the day, as well as designing and implementing enrichment and summer programs. Just last year, they served over 1,500 students, delivered 60 summer learning programs, and participated in many New London community events.
  5. Adaptive programs: We don’t think that marine adventure sports should be limited by ability. At NESS, we have an adaptive sailing program to help all people get out on the water! Our educators are so flexible and willing to adapt programs and lessons to the needs of our students.

Experiential Learning

We actively engage students through inquiry-based learning by doing, seeing, and feeling firsthand! Our educators work to build programs that will enhance students’ learning experiences and expand their knowledge of adventure sports and marine science by actively participating. Our programs get students out on the water to learn whether it’s by observing the Long Island Sound, understanding how the angle of a sail relates to geometry class, fishing, or swimming. We have a fleet of over 200 powerboats, sailboats, SUPs, and kayaks for students to utilize to enhance their learning experience with NESS.

Personal Growth

Our students explore areas outside of their comfort zones to increase personal discovery and empowerment. Our educators help students feel safer around the water, enjoy ocean adventures more, and feel good about themselves! Many of our students have never even stepped foot in a sailboat or kayak, sometimes never even swam before, before coming to NESS. Our students tell us that after experiences with NESS, they know more about sailing and science, and have shown to be more academically engaged in the classroom. We love to help our students feel more comfortable on and near the water, as well as in their classrooms, and we are willing to do what it takes to make this happen!


NESS builds connections between students, their communities, and a sustainable natural environment. We believe that we are so lucky to be located on the water, but with this privilege comes the responsibility to take care of our environment. We help create a culture of stewardship through many programs, such as beach clean ups, student projects, and lessons.

  1. Clean ups: Each year with our annual youth surf competition we host a beach cleanup in Westerly, this year our volunteers picked up over 50 lbs of trash!
  2. Community engagement: We encourage students to dive deeper into how they can help their communities through long-term projects. Students from Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School in New London, CT have created many projects to help inform their community about marine conservation, for example creating a bench for Ocean Beach made of recycled materials and building sculptures made from marine debris.
  3. Lessons: Our lessons that we bring to schools or teach here on site for field trips also have a stewardship component! Students learn about why our coast is so important by delving into topics like microplastics and tide-pooling. NESS cares about our community and hope to inspire our students to do the same.

We hope to motivate the next generation of leaders, sailors, marine adventurers, scientists, and conservationists by helping them along their journey.